Tressel Pryor is our quarterback

After one of the most devastating losses in recent memory, the Ohio State Buckeyes and their coaches begin to look for answers.OSU went to Purdue and was beaten convincingly, 26-18, by a Boilermakers team that had one win, and zero in the Big Ten Conference.“Obviously it was a tough one for us to go drop a game on the road in the conference, but that’s exactly what happened,” coach Jim Tressel said Tuesday during his weekly press conference.Mistakes and missed opportunities plagued OSU against Purdue. The most glaring problem from an offense that only mustered 18 points was the inconsistent play by quarterback Terrelle Pryor.Pryor’s day was highlighted by turnovers. He accounted for four of five on the day. He had two interceptions and three fumbles, two of which were lost to Purdue.The offensive struggles cannot be pinned on him alone, but if the offense is going to start being more consistent, it will have to start with Pryor, Tressel said.In the five wins for OSU this season, Pryor has a 9-5 touchdown to interception ratio and three rushing touchdowns. In the two losses, he has only one touchdown, three interceptions and two lost fumbles.For OSU’s offense to get out of its collective funk, Pryor will need to be more protective of the football, Tressel said.Tressel said that regardless of how ineffective Pryor has looked at times this season, the idea of replacing him with backup Joe Bauserman has never crossed his mind.Last year, quarterback Todd Boeckman was replaced after a forgettable outing against USC. Tressel doesn’t believe that this year’s struggles are comparable to those of last season.“We felt at the time last year that the best thing for the team in order to be successful was to make the decision that we did,” Tressel said. “I’m not sure that they’re comparable at all. They don’t feel to me as being similar situations.”With several questions still unanswered, the Buckeyes (5-2, 3-1) prepare for Homecoming against Minnesota (4-3, 2-2) at noon Saturday.Tressel striving for better preparationRecently, OSU has been known as a team that struggles to beat quality opponents. As bad as that may seem, the Buckeyes’ saving grace has been that they rarely, if ever, lose to inferior opponents.That wasn’t the case Saturday.“We didn’t do the things that you need to do to be successful,” Tressel said. “What we asked ourselves and our team to do was first and foremost … think about what is it that I could do better.”The letdown against Purdue started with the coaching staff not adequately preparing the Buckeyes for the challenge they would face.The Boilermakers are a much better team than their record indicates. Letdowns like the one Saturday occur when teams don’t give enough credit to their opponent, junior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said.“I think we prepared the week like any other game,” he said. “When it came to game time, our focus just might not have been there. As a whole, we may have overlooked that a little bit.”If the Buckeyes weren’t ready mentally for a tough road game at Purdue, it falls back on the coach. In light of the tough loss, Tressel reflected on what he believes his role is in preparing his players.“I know from a coaching standpoint when young people decide to come to Ohio State, and we convince them that this is a great institution and so forth, that one of the things that we want to know for sure is what is it that you’re interested in doing individually, collectively as a team, obviously a million things outside of football, and then you go about trying to coach them, aid them, teach them and so forth in what it takes to accomplish that,” Tressel said.After the surprising loss to the Boilermakers, Tressel knows what he must do to better his team going forward in Big Ten play.“The first reflection that I have personally is that I’ve certainly got to do a better job of helping this group understand what it takes to do the things they would like to do,” he said. Injuries, youth, penalties hurt offensive lineLack of production by the offense doomed the Buckeyes on Saturday, and the lack of quality play by the offensive line is just another reason why.The line gave up five sacks against Purdue but also had five costly penalties that made sustaining drives difficult.Senior Jim Cordle went down during the USC game, and surgery has kept him from making an impact on the struggling line. Cordle could be ready this week.“We tried to get him into the game Saturday, and he just isn’t quite ready,” Tressel said. “It’s one thing being able to be able to go through a practice tempo, and it’s another thing to be able to do it on a Saturday. I like to think he’d be a lot healthier because we kind of took a step back with him. We didn’t leave him in so long that he got banged up.”Fellow veteran Andrew Miller has also been out, but Tressel believes it may finally be time for him to get back in the rotation.“Andrew has practiced a little bit, and I hope he can contribute,” Tressel said. “This will be an important week of practice to see if he can get some weight back on and get some strength back and so forth.”

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